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Press Release
May 14, 2003
Contact: Doris Sanchez
(512) 463-0127
Texas Senate approves Sen. Lucios battle against childhood obesity

AUSTIN, TX - Today the full Senate approved a measure by Sen. Eddie Lucio, Jr. that would establish a joint interim committee to study nutrition and health in public schools aimed at combating obesity among children and its related diseases.

Despite what the soda industry says about obesity being related solely to inactivity, Type II diabetes is caused by more than just a lack of physical activity, said Sen. Lucio.

The interim committee created in Senate Bill 474 would look at all aspects of foods and beverages provided to children in our public schools--the national school food program, a la carte foods, competitive foods and vending machines. Revenues from the national school meal program go back into the program, while competitive foods and vending machine profits can be used at the superintendents or principals discretion. Schools have no incentive to prepare healthy, attractive meals for the kids. There is a financial incentive for schools to steer kids away from decent foods.

I dont know if the average taxpayer is aware of this, but in 2001, 738 school food service programs were operating at a deficit in Texas, stated Sen. Lucio. Our school districts subsidized their food service programs at a cost of $23,682,137, and my goal is to reverse this unhealthy trend.

Sen. Lucio hopes that programs giving kids healthy choices in their eating habits will be developed in all schools. He explained, Studies show children develop their life-long eating habits at a young age, and if we are not mindful of that fact, we will see children entering adulthood with poor diets and all the associated health problems. Parents are not in school with these children to monitor their eating habits and, frankly, schools should not be steering kids towards junk food!

Note: The House must now consider Senate Bill 474.